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The influence of vegetated marshes on wave transformation in sheltered estuaries

June 20, 2023

Assessing the influence of marshes on mitigating flooding along estuarine shorelines under the pressures of sea level rise requires understanding wave transformation across the marsh. A numerical model was applied to investigate how vegetated marshes influence wave transformation. XBeach non-hydrostatic (XB-NH) was calibrated and validated with high frequency pressure data from the marsh at China Camp State Park in San Pablo Bay, California (USA). The model was used to examine how marsh and hydrodynamic characteristics change the potential for marshes to mitigate wave driven flooding. Model results demonstrate that hydrodynamics, vegetation, and marsh width influence wave transformation most, while marsh morphology parameters such as elevation and slope had least effect. Results suggest that in the range of settings explored here (incident wave heights ranging from 0.5 to 3 m and water levels ranging from current mean higher high water to 3 m above current mean higher high water), in comparison to wave propagation over an unvegetated mudflat, marsh vegetation reduces runup by a median of 40 cm and wave height by a median of 35 cm. Results illustrate how marshes can be strategically utilized to provide flood reduction benefits.

Publication Year 2023
Title The influence of vegetated marshes on wave transformation in sheltered estuaries
DOI 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2023.104346
Authors Rae M. Taylor-Burns, Cornelis M. Nederhoff, Jessica R. Lacy, Patrick L. Barnard
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Coastal Engineering
Index ID 70245610
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center